Men’s Golf: Coach and Captain

The Red Wolves Men’s Golf team is led by head coach Steve Johnson and team captain Alex Hewitt.  Coach Johnson is now in his eighth season at Arkansas State after coming to Jonesboro from Southern Mississippi in 2006. Since 2006 his teams have seen their fair share of success in various tournaments and other events. One of Johnson’s main responsibilities as head coach of the golf team is recruiting. The 2013 roster features players from across the globe. The ten-man roster features players from South Africa, Canada, Mississippi, Missouri, and Arkansas. In an interview last week with Red Wolves Under the Radar, Johnson elaborated on his experiences at ASU.

Head coach Steve Johnson

Head coach Steve Johnson

Johnson has been coaching for twenty years and says that it’s a lot of fun. “It keeps you young. You’re always around young kids. It’s great to help these guys achieve their hopes and dreams.” He said that it is rewarding to see the players grow as athletes and students in their years at ASU.

A-State has gone through several changes in the years that Johnson has been here. He said that becoming the Red Wolves was “a big step in the right direction. It’s a mascot that everyone could get behind.”

Johnson discussed some of his thoughts about recruiting. He believes that the perception of ASU has changed in the last few years in the state of Arkansas.  In previous years, potential in-state high school recruits may have thought ASU was similar to smaller schools like UA-Monticello or Lyon College. He said that in the last few years, thanks in part to the football team’s success, more people in Arkansas are becoming aware that ASU has competitive Division I programs.

When it comes to recruiting players, Johnson believes that “you’re trying to get the best players that you can, but you’re also trying to get the best players that are the best fit, not just for them, but for us too.” He has recruited several international players. “We’ve had success with the South Africans, and there’s actually a fairly large community of people from South Africa in Jonesboro. Jonesboro’s a pretty easy-going place, and the guys seem to like it. The Canadians love the mild climate of February in Jonesboro.”

Johnson said that his team prepares differently for each tournament. The team prepares based on how the course at the tournament is built. For their next event, the Bill Ross Intercollegiate, they’re spending a lot of time on shot-making skills.

Team captain Alex Hewitt

Team captain Alex Hewitt

Alex Hewitt is the team captain for the 2013-2014 season. In his interview with Red Wolves Under the Radar, Hewitt spoke about being team captain, preparing for tournaments, and some of his favorite golf players. Hewitt is a senior business major from Little Rock. He believes that being a senior and being team captain carries a different amount of leadership than he’s ever had, but that he just tries to emulate the guys who were upperclassmen when he was a freshman and sophomore. Hewitt said that different players prepare a variety of ways for tournaments. Some guys prefer to practice at the driving range but some prefer playing full rounds. With three courses in Jonesboro there are plenty of options for practice. Hewitt said that being a student athlete can be stressful but it’s also rewarding. He says it requires balance, sacrifice, and time management.

Hewitt’s favorite golf players are Tiger Woods, Jason Dufner, and Adam Scott. He said that every golfer has to respect what Tiger has done for the game of golf. He said that Dufner’s laid-back, nonchalant attitude is a trait that he likes. When asked about how being a college athlete is different from Arkansas high school athletics, Hewitt stated that it is “a completely different world.” He has teammates from across the world, and said that his family has hosted his international teammates for Thanksgiving a few times. He also recently visited South Africa to hang out with some of his teammates in their home country.

Johnson and Hewitt both said that the best way to support the team is to follow them online. They also encouraged students to show up for their home tournament in April. The ASU Red Wolf Intercollegiate is April 7th-8th, 2014 in Jonesboro.

The team’s next event is the Bill Ross Intercollegiate, October 15-16th, 2013 in Overland Park, KS.

You can watch some of the highlights of their interview here: 

For more information about the golf team you can visit the A-State athletics page:

A-State Men’s Golf

For more information about Sun Belt golf: 

Sun Belt golf

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Player Profile: Erica Whitaker

As a fan you might know everything you could possibly want to know about your favorite sport. You know all the rules of the game and maybe even the names of the players on your favorite teams, but how well do you really know the people you are watching? I had time to get to know one of the players as an individual and find out a little bit more about her and the sport she loves.

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Softball player Erica Whitaker is a 5’3 Senior who graduated from Thayer High School in 2010. Erica transferred here from Lyon College where she played her freshmen year for the Lady Scots. She led the Lady Red Wolves in their game on September 16th with two triples, one double, two runs and five runs batted in. One interesting thing you might not know is that Erica is a switch hitter and plays more than one position, those being short stop and catcher.
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Off the field Erica majors in communication disorders and is seeking an art minor to go along with that degree. She’s lived and worked on a farm her whole life. Her favorite things included  animals, sports, God, singing, playing guitar, doing artwork, cooking, working out, hunting, playing with her niece, going to the lake, reading, and listening to music.
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Erica’s stats so far this season are as followed:
7 – AB
2 – R
3- H
1 – 2B
2 – 3B
1- SO
1 – SB
5 – RBI
0.429 – Batting Average
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If you want to know more about the team and their upcoming games you can see the full roster and events at:

International tennis team

Practicing 1

Practicing 1

Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played by millions of recreational players at all levels of society and at all ages, and is also a popular worldwide spectator sport. The women’s tennis team of Arkansas State University is made up by one head coach and eight players. Surprisingly, among these players there are seven International students

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Practicing 2

Practicing 3

Practicing 3

and only one American student, by the way, the head coach, Marina Emgelbrecht

Head coach Marina Engelbretch

Head coach Marina Engelbretch

is also from south Africa. Under the leadership of the head coach , this women’s team practice very hard and have a high win rate statistics.

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Practicing 4

Practicing 5

Practicing 5

Practicing 6

Practicing 6

As an International student, I know this feeling of being away from my hometown. I wish people around wouldshow more care to this special tennis team, get behind these girls, to support more, to know more.

Rules of tennis

The best game of tennis ever?

Arkansas State Player Profile: Shelby Crncic

Five seniors inhabit this years 2013 Arkansas State Volleyball Squad. None might be more interesting than volleyball player Shelby Crncic. Crncic has been playing at Arkansas State for four years.

Shelby, who is a defensive specialist/libero says she fell in love with volleyball at an early age.

“I started playing volleyball in about the fourth grade. My friend wanted me to help her out setting, so I helped her set and she began to coach me. After that, I enrolled in an elementary league and just fell in love with it.”

While Shelby continued to enjoy playing volleyball throughout her high school years, not all came in good fortune. Shelby would miss three months with a broken arm following a car accident but that did not stop her from attempting to play in college.

While being recruited, Shelby says that she wanted to grow away from her home state of Indiana. While she was being recruited by Dayton University, the coaches wondered if she would be able to play significantly and contribute to the team. It was then she learned about Arkansas State and Shelby says she immediately fell in love with the campus.

“I wanted to become my own person. The coaches at Dayton wanted me to play because they loved my work ethic, but they weren’t sure if I was going to get playing time. The head coach was friends with Coach Ingram so he decided to shoot him an e-mail saying ‘Hey, check out this girl.’ Justin gave me a call and the rest was history. I fell in love with the campus.”

Shelby has since made the most of her playing time. Shelby saw action in 27 matches and recorded 138 digs her freshman campaign. She was used primarily as a defensive specialist in 2011, then saw action in 32 matches her junior year, totaling 218 digs on the year for the Lady Red Wolves. At the same time, Shelby has had to adapt to playing for two different coaches.

“First two years were definitely different. We had Justin Ingram and he knew his volleyball. He was very intelligent. He pushed us really hard, then he resigned. We get the complete opposite with Dave. Dave knows his stuff but he’s more laid back but he still wants us to do our best.”

At the same time, teammates of Shelby’s knew what they were getting from her and they appreciated the work she put in.

“Shelby and I actually roomed together our freshman year at University,” senior Sadie Clark said. “We both figured out that we had different quirks, but becoming friends freshman year really helped us on the court. On the court, I don’t think anyone works harder than Shelby does and that’s fun to see. Shelby’s always going to give it her all.”

As for the future, Shelby says that she definitely sees herself coaching volleyball. In fact, she’s already begun.

“I’ve already started coaching club and I love it. I absolutely love it.”

As for regrets as playing as a Red Wolf, Shelby says, “Absolutely none.”

References for statistics:

http://www.astateredwolves.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=35045&SPID=2743&DB_LANG=C&DB_OEM_ID=7200&ATCLID=204979387&Q_SEASON=2013

Can You Dig it?

2012 SBC VBT Match 4 UALR vs ASU061 (1)

Megan Baska is a senior entering her fourth season playing for the Arkansas State Red Wolves and  is from Overland Park, Kansas . While volleyball is not the prime time sport compared to football and basketball it has a different meaning to Ms. Baska. She was named second team All-Sun Belt Conference last season as a Libero. She just recently moved into second place all-time on the career digs list at Arkansas State with 1,789 digs which is 502 digs away from the number one player at Arkansas State. Ms. Margie Kolat who played for Arkansas State from 1991-1994 who set this record. I sat down with Megan Baska and asked her several questions regarding her career while playing volleyball for Arkansas State.

Questions:

1)      Me- What does it feel like to be a part of the ASU Volleyball team?

Baska: Being a part of the ASU volleyball team feels like you are part of a family.  This year especially with a large roster of many new girls, new members to the coaching staff and higher goals, we have truly become a very close team.  While we have a drive to push each other to be better on and off the court we balance it out with supporting each other as well.

2)      Me:  Being named 2nd team All-Sun Belt Conference last season how does that make you feel?

Baska : “I did what last year?” I have put the past years in my back pocket.  My first 3 years of experience are only cushions in the back pocket that have created a solid foundation for what needs to happen this year. The past seasons has given me experience to be better the next and in this case my final year.

3)      Me: What goals have you set and what would you like to accomplish before finishing your career with the ASU volleyball team?

Baska: We talk a lot at the beginning of season on what our goals are as a team and individual.  The main goal is winning the Sunbelt Conference and we have many little goals along the way that will aid in making that come true.  Of course there are many specific volleyball goals that were set at the start of this season but a personal goal I set for myself this year is to never take for granted the ability and opportunity I have been blessed with because this year is going to go by faster than I am going to want.  I hope to leave more than just numbers behind when I have to walk off the court but rather something that the younger girls can learn from and take with them into their future seasons.

4)      Me: What will you miss most about playing volleyball at ASU?

Baska: There are so many things that will be missed when done playing a college sport here at ASU but what I will miss the most is the look on my teammates face just after scoring a point and the feeling of complete joy it brings me.

5)      Me:  What is it like to have a sibling that not only goes to the same school as you but also plays Rugby for the school?

Baska: Having my brother at the same school as me as been one of the best parts of my last two years here.  He’s not only my little brother but a best friend and brings so much laughter and fun to my everyday life.  He is constantly supporting me in volleyball and it means the world to me to see him at the games.   I hope I do just as good of a job back to him.  I am so happy and thankful I have the opportunity to watch him play the sport he loves and support Rugby.

Volleyball Reference Guide ASU

ASU Volleyball Homepage

Megan Baska Bio

On Your Mark, Get Set, Hurdle!

One of the more exciting sports that often fly under the radar at many universities is track and field.  Different track events can

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Head Coach Jim Patchell (with the cool sunglasses)

last eleven seconds or 12 minutes depending on the length of running involved.  Those events can be as quick as the 100 meter hurdle run or as long as the 3200 meter run ( 1600m= 1 mile). College Track is an extremely difficult task because the student athletes are constantly trying to stay fit for every event while juggling the extremes of class work and everyday life. Some may even run multiple races throughout one event (which is very strenuous on someone’s body).

One of the more favorable events is the hurdle events (In my opinion at least). The standard hurdle race for men is 110 meters and 100meters for women. Not only do the hurdle events require speed, they also require technique and perfect timing. Too many steps in between hurdles will leave the runner crashing into the hurdle (depending on the type of race, a runner can be disqualified for knocking over a hurdle). Not enough steps can cause the hurdler to take longer to get over the hurdle, which in turn will make him/her slower.

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Working on Hurdle Technique

Some of the techniques runners use is mostly the same. From

the shot of the gun to the first hurdle is most important. A clean start and great burst of motion can be a great help in winning the race. If you’re naturally speedy, it won’t do much justice if your technique from hurdle to hurdle isn’t up to par.  Many runners try to get in between seven to eight steps before launching through the first hurdle (it depends on the runner’s stride and leg length). The desirable steps in between hurdles are three steps before launching through the hurdle. Also while running, you will notice that the hurdler will run with their bodies at an angle and not straight up. Usually their lead leg is their power leg and their trail leg is the lesser of the two. Those who are very efficient will master their jumps to get their legs underneath them as quick as possible. The best hurdlers in the nation perfect these motions and therefore win their fair share of big time races.

Such is the case for perhaps one of the better runners in the nation in Sharika Nelvis. Nelvis is senior with many accolades for her capabilities in the 200m race and the 100m hurdles.  I got a chance to speak with her personally about what goes through her mind before each hurdle race. I asked her what goes through her mind when preparing for a hurdles race and this was her response:  “What I am thinking a

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Nelvis in action

bout during a hurdle race is to do better than my previous time, have a clean race, and to be the first to cross the finish line. I take seven steps to the first hurdle when almost all women hurdlers take eight and

after that its three steps in between each hurdle”. This fast paced and exciting event will definitely keep fans on the edge of their seats! You can check out Sharika Nelvis and the rest of the track hurdlers in the future by clicking the link below that shows their 2013-2014 Indoor/Outdoor track schedule. GO REDWOLVES!!! 

Links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurdling

http://www.astateredwolves.com/SportSelect.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=7200&SPID=2750&SPSID=35098

ASU Rugby: Getting to Understand This Unfamiliar Sport

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Just over ten years ago the Arkansas State Rugby Team was founded.  In that relatively short amount of time the team has been built into a year in and year out national powerhouse in College Rugby.  ASU boasts great local players as well as international teammates.  Matt Huckaby, Coach of the ASU Rugby Team, says the reason for the fast rise in success for the Rugby team, “starts with the support that the ASU administration as well as the local community have given to the team.”  Coach mentioned that you cannot just start a powerhouse Rugby team from scratch it takes a few years to get the right players and personnel in the program and as a team their main focus has been to simply, “improve on what they did the year before, one step at a time.”  So far that plan has seemed to work well for the team as they have made great strides and competed for a National Championship in 2012 against Brigham Young University and finished the 2013 season ranked third in the nation, plus the 2012 Champions in Rugby Sevens.

Now for the average American sports fan, they probably think of a sport that is played mainly in the European scene with national powers such as England and Ireland, African teams like South Africa, and the Oceanic Nations such as Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and American-Samoa.  On a side note these Oceanic teams lay claim to some pretty wild pre-match war dances, called a Haka.

However, Rugby has everything that would fill an American Sports fan’s appetite.  Rugby is the “Grandfather” for modern American Football and with that it is a guarantee that more than a few bone crushing hits will be seen.  Unlike American Football though, the play is non-stop until a team scores.  You could think of it as a combination of soccer – fluid and always moving, hockey – non-stop and hard-hitting, and American football – moving the ball into the scoring areas and with hard hits to stop the offense.  I do not know about you but a non-stop game with the same amount of violence as American Football seems to be the perfect sport for any American Sports fan, not to mention the absence of league regulated American football pads.

Coach Huckaby also went into some depth about the basic rules of the game so even a first time viewer would be able to understand a match.  First, the object of the game is to move the ball into the ends of the pitch, known as tries (the equivalent of a touchdown) worth five points.  After a try is awarded a player is allowed to kick a conversion (extra point) worth two points.  When the ball is being moved down field it can only be passed backwards between players.  The defense tries to intercept the passes and tackle the offensive player before they reach the try zone.   The basics are very simple, add a scrum, ruck, and line out, set plays that give either team chances to control the ball for offensive possession and you got a fluid moving, high impact, manly sport.  As Coach Huckaby said, “It is iron man football, where both the offense and defensive players cannot be afraid to take a hit.”

Now that you possess of some of the basics of the sport, come out and support the Arkansas State Rugby team.  They start Sevens matches, a more fast paced version of Rugby with only seven players on the pitch for both teams, this October.  The Fifteens season will get under way next Spring, which is the normal version of Rugby with Fifteen players to a side.  With lots of action, movement, and of course the fact that Arkansas State claims one of the elite teams in the nation, it will be great to support the Red Wolves Rugby as they embark on the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

Arkansas State 7’s

Arkansas State 15’s

D1A Rugby Official Site
http://www.d1arugby.com/